Email sent 5-31-03
Hi Jackson, thanks for your input brother. I have given what you asked a LOT of consideration, and it is still in the "percolation" stage. I cannot argue with your logic, because it is sound. However, if I may, I'd like to share a few considerations with you.
First, I don't normally speak Hebrew in my daily course of interaction with people, so to use the English transliteration of the Tetragrammaton is, at best, a poor form of communication. The reason I say this is because no one actually knows how YHWH was originally pronounced, since the spoken Hebrew language has no vowel points as in English. I have already researched the "adonay" argument by the way. The closest pronunciation of YHWH in English would sound like this, "Eeveh."
Second, I do not believe the Almighty is hung up on pronunciations, but rather what His name represents. For example, the origin of the Tetragrammaton is ehyeh. Ehyeh means, "I am." Yahweh, if you will, is the third person singular form of ehyeh, and it means literally, "He is." So unless we as believers insist on speaking fluent Hebrew, the best way to "pronounce" the sacred name of Yahweh in English is as, "He is."
On the other hand, there are many other names, or titles for our Father, such as El and Elohim, Adon, and Adonay. Can you imagine the confusion to the Gentiles (so to speak) if we ran around using these terms? Again, it is the meaning of the names that "God" is concerned with. For example, "el" means strength, but would you go up to an unbeliever and say, "Strength" loves you?
Now apply the same logic to Yahweh, which actually means, "He is" or more literally, "He who exists...is." Would we approach someone in an attempt to share the gospel, and say, "He who exists is gave His only begotten son as a ransom for your sins?" This would not only confuse most people, but also make them think you were from some oddball cult.
So what is God's heart Jackson? This is what I ask myself. Like you, I am a seeker of truth, but I am not a legalist. Paul said he became all things to all men in the hope he might win some to Christ:
1 Cor 9:19-22
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.
20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law;
21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.
With regard to the sacred name, Jesus, as we pronounce it, is best pronounced in Aramaic as, "Yashua." Over the years I have watched the Yahweh and Yashua folks hold up their use of the names Yahweh and Yashua as being that which most honors God, and yet most of them are whitewashed sepulchers brother. The name Jesus means literally, "Yah saves." If you want to be technical, in our vernacular it means, "He is salvation," or, "He is saves."
With this logic, imagine approaching the lost saying, "He is saves is the only mediator between man and strength (God)." They would look at you in a rather odd fashion. Then you would be forced to use the terminology THEY are familiar with to explain what you have decided is the proper pronunciation.
I hope this helps you Jackson. I do not feel I am insulting the Almighty to call Him, "God," instead of Yahweh. By the same token, I am seeking Him for a revealing of what it is I can use to represent His name, which is, in Hebrew and Greek, associated with His character and His authority. Consider this passage:
According to this passage, the name the Father gave to Jesus is His own. Again, the most important element is not pronunciation, but accurate representation, which is only done through a life that glorifies Him Jackson. I love you brother, and hope this helps you understand my position. Craig
Thanks for that good answer.
I don't see the need to translate the name primarily because we simply don't translate names from one language to the other. And, the vast majority of sources I have looked at, including the Revised Standard team, are certain the pronunciation is Yahweh. There is also a the archaeological evidence with vowels written in in paleo.
Anyway, like you, I start with "God" but I do teach "my disciples" (I have a pastorate) about the sacred name and, after awhile, use it exclusively. Same for Jesus. I'll use that in teaching now but discontinue it in favor of Yahshua for those whom I have taught the reasons for this. I have had some that have rebelled against any mention of Yahweh, even after learning about it. On the other hand, the majority are very open and responsive to correcting the god language in their bibles.
One other thing. I learned about these sacred names in 1978. I was a young Sunday school teacher then and read about this in the liner notes of my New English Bible. I began to teach it. Later on, considering the ignorance of Hebrew of the first translators, I feel a great deal of hostility toward modern translators who know better but are keeping correct names out of the Bible with substitutes.
And the name the father gave Jesus is indeed his own: Yah-weh -> Yah-shua. This is one of the primary reasons I teach these names.
Anyway, you article was very nice. I would certainly like to use "The Origin of God" as well as your response on my site with your permission. Your response obviously was written with much consideration and prayer.
I am really getting good hits now after 5 years, and Yahweh is blessing me in that. Thanks for all the time you put into correct research of your articles. I'm glad to find your place.
From: Craig [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 12:02 PM
Subject: Permission granted Jackson
Dearest brother Jackson~
Thank you my friend for your kind and gracious words. It is unusual for someone such as you, which is a shepherd of the flock of Yashua to speak in kind terms to me. I love all men, and especially those of the household of faith, but have found the feelings are not always reciprocated but those offended by the truth of scripture. You most assuredly have my permission to use any of the material on my web site for yours, and also our correspondence regarding the name of elohim and Yahweh.
One thing I thought of Jackson, as I reflected on your email, and there are a few studies that a man of the word like you would enjoy deeply. I know I’m “preaching to the choir” here, but these studies touch on the origins of more church tradition and mistranslation of scripture, and a twisting of the nature of the Almighty and His beloved son Yashua. Here are the titles and the links (below):
About 7 years ago, I began to research the oneness Pentecostal doctrine I had imbibed for decades, realizing the clear distinction between Jesus (Yashua) and the Father. It became evident to me Jesus cannot be “fully God and fully man” as the Apostolic churches taught. In fact, I dropped all the usual dualism terms such as the “dual nature of Christ” for the clarity of scripture.
One simple but profound truth for me was the definition of theos and elohim in Strong’s and other Hebrew and Greek lexicons. An alternate definition for both of these words is, “magistrate.” James Strong’s work was done at a time in history when word meanings meant something different. A magistrate today is generally viewed by society as simply a “judge” or someone who administers the law. But at the time Strong used the definition, it implied something completely different. Below is a definition from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, contemporary with many of the men that provided us with language reference tools:
MAG'ISTRATE, n. [L. magistratus, from magister, master; magis, major, and ster, Teutonic steora, a director; steoran, to steer; the principal director.] A public civil officer, invested with the executive government of some branch of it. In this sense, a king is the highest or first magistrate, as is the President of the United States. But the word is more particularly applied to subordinate officers, as governors, intendants, prefects, mayors, justices of the peace, and the like.
The magistrate must have his reverence; the
laws their authority.
MAGISTRAT'IC, a. Having the authority of a magistrate.
This accounts for the few ambiguous translations of the word “God” in reference to Jesus, such as John 20:28. Thomas would have been saying to Yashua, “The master of me, and the ruler of me.” Just a thought.
Have a blessed day brother. Craig
Yes, I agree fully with you. I too in seeking a more scriptural approach (scriptural meaning primitive in the sense of getting back to the meaning of the oldest manuscripts), turned to a oneness group when my Methodist pastor refused to rebaptize me in the name of Jesus (1980). I was a lay preacher and organist then but went to a very poor United Pentecostal church in the evenings because of my understanding of Mat 28:28 in light of Acts.
Since then I have come to realize that though my desire for truth was certainly not misplaced, my baptism in infancy was efficacious as it carried me through a turbulent teen age and on to my call to preach and teach.
Anyway, I'm 50 with an MDiv, majoring in intertestamental lit. I read greek but not hebrew (yet). I have found Strong's to be far out of date on many words, primarily upholding tradition rather than veracity. I first read about YHWH in the liner notes of my New English Bible in 1978. About 10 years ago I began to research the sacred name and began a quest back to our common hebraic roots. Besides Elder Meyer's magazines (Assemblise of Yahweh), one of the most stimulating books I've ever read that caused me to look back was James the Brother of Jesus by Eisenman.
I just returned from the Annual Conference of the methodists I'm hooked up with and the god language is turning me off more and more. I really need prayer in this regard because I'm finding myself thinking that even our Bishops with their PhDs are completely ignorant of not only the name and power of the deity, but also the move of the spirit. I am fast losing my respect, even though respect they deserve.
Thanks again for the links and permissions. I will study each diligently and perhaps suggest some of my own stuff for you too.
Yahweh's blessing on you and my prayer is with you in agape.
Your friend, Jackson Snyder
Email sent on 6-4-03
Dear brother & friend in truth Jackson,
Thanks for the email. I’m growing rather fond of you already, and I love your tender heart for Yashua. I appreciated you sharing the brief bio with me. I’d love to just chat with you sometime. I have several health issues I am dealing with…We are basically the same age; I’m 49 years old, and my background is very similar to yours.
I got the invite to the AOL ‘Debate The Trinity” deal, but the Terms Of Agreement I read stated AOL would consider me as enrolling for their services, and expect payment, so I declined. It sounded interesting though, and if you get some more complex passages of scripture, email the arguments to me now and again, and I’ll jump in with my input. The Trinity is a sinister doctrine, but it is a smokescreen for a more insidious doctrine…the “Pre-Incarnate Christ (PIC).” You have to have a Trinity to have the PIC. The PIC is the basis for the “Jesus is God” theology. Believe it or not, I even have info to show that the Pythagorean influence in the religious politics of Constantine’s day was foisted covertly by an elite bunch of Jews who intentionally bastardized the theology to corrupt the nature of Yahweh and Yashua. Of course this matters little to most people, but it is interesting trivia.
You are the first brother that has really connected with my research on the origin of the word “God.” All the Yahweh folks out there focus on Yahweh, but few realize that the word God originates from pagan influence, traced back to the Hindu Sanskrit (the Germanic ‘gad’ is from Norse influence, and Vikings were instrumental in bringing the use of pagan names to Europe. As you read in my study, the word “god” means literally, “the invoked one.” Sounds like something occult doesn’t it? I prefer to use, “the strong one” as it reflects the heart of what the Hebrews used, comparative to our vernacular.
Yahweh’s blessings to you in Yashua my brother, and please, send me some of your work in an attachment or a link some time.
Your friend, Craigo
The Bible Answer Stand Ministry